When people find out how long I’ve been married (739 years), they immediately ask how we’ve done it. What are our secrets? How have we overcome adversity? Where do we hide the chocolate?

Since we just celebrated our anniversary (in the traditional manner, by arguing over where we should set the thermostat when we go to bed at night), this seems an appropriate time to offer my personal tips on how to make a marriage work.

These are tips that have been honed by years of being ready to leave the house for an appointment before my wife is ready to leave the house and consequently having had too much time on my hands.

  • Never go to bed mad.

It makes much more sense to get mad before you go to bed, so you don’t have to stay awake for a long time trying to work up a good fit of pique.

  • Compromise is key.

If, for instance, you only have one television and you want to watch a college basketball game and your wife wants to watch the season finale of “The Good Wife,” you should both give in a little, and watch the basketball game because, you know, it’s a really important game.

  • Divide the household tasks evenly.

At our house, for example, I am in charge of dividing the household tasks. My wife is in charge of adding them. We outsource for subtraction and division.

  • Don’t rehash old arguments, even if you are convinced you won them and still have the scorecard to prove it.

It’s much more productive to begin new arguments, which are fresher and crisper, and have a later expiration date and you don’t have to refrigerate.

  • Similarly, don’t recall old arguments, particularly if you lost them, and your spouse still has the scorecard to prove it.
  • Never, ever eat the last Mallomar.
  • Always remember to apologize, even when you clearly have been right, which I absolutely was on March 19, 2003, and then again on Sept. 23, 2009.

And there’s no need to recall those incidents, unless, of course, you can easily work them into the conversation.

 
  • Never forget that marriage is hard work.

It’s not as difficult as, say, writing a blog, but it’s up there with trying to decide whether you should or should not send an error report to Microsoft after your computer crashes..

  • Never say “I told you so,” even if you really have.

Instead, send a text.

  • Watch out for the little things.
  • Watch out for the big things, too.
  • Always offer contradictory advice to your partner that at first sounds really profound but doesn’t really commit you to mowing the lawn on Saturday.
  • Don’t blame the other person for your own failings.
  • If these tips don’t work, it’s my wife’s fault.

 

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